Other Useful Android Apps

These are Android apps which you might find useful. For some more useful apps, see my most-used apps.

App developers sometimes add or change or remove features, so there might be some differences between my descriptions (below) and the current versions of some apps.

AirDroid by SAND STUDIO (free) - Allows you to use your PC's web browser to see what files are on your phone, and to transfer files wirelessly to or from your phone (if your phone and your computer are on the same WiFi network). When you run the app, it tells you to go to http://web.airdroid.com in your PC's web browser, where you type in the passcode which is shown on your phone. This displays the contents of your phone in your PC's browser so you can do file transfers. When you're finished, tap the "Disconnect" button on your phone.

aSpotCat - Permission Checker by Sam Lu (free) - Provides various lists of your installed apps so you can see what permissions they require, such as the permission to make calls or send texts. This is very helpful in finding apps which might be malicious. Also see Addons Detector (above) and Clueful Privacy Advisor (below).

Assistant (Siri Alternative) by api.ai (free) - After trying out a number of voice recognition apps, this one is my favorite. It has an avatar which can be male or female, and you can change its appearance and voice and accent (American or British). This one has a better speaking voice and conversational style of speaking than most of the other voice recognition apps.

None of the voice recognition apps can understand everything you say and respond perfectly every time, but this one does a pretty good job. Tap the "microphone" icon, then try saying things like:

  • "Change your name" - She'll prompt you to give her a new name.
  • "Change my name" - She'll ask what you want her to call you.
  • "How are you?" - She can answer various conversational questions.
  • "What's the weather like?" - She'll tell you the weather for your current location at the current time.
  • "What's the weather like in Los Angeles?" - She'll tell you the weather for Los Angeles at the current time. Then say, "How about New York?" She's smart enough to know that you're asking about the current weather in New York.
  • "How tall is the Empire State Building?"
  • "Play <song title>" - If she can't find the song on your phone then she'll ask if you want her to try YouTube or other music sites.
  • "Remind me at 3:30 to take my medicine" - She'll create a reminder and show you the details for your approval.
  • "Text George Meet me at 3:30" - She'll create a text message to your "George" contact and show it to you for your approval.
  • (Tap the "light bulb" icon to see a long list of the things she can do.)

AudioPocket BETA by Vylar (free) - When you watch a video in the YouTube app, the video will stop if you switch to a different app or turn off your screen. But if you search for a video in the YouTube app and then share that video with the AudioPocket app (instead of playing the video in YouTube), the sound will continue to play even after you switch to a different app or turn off your screen. Also see YouTube (below).

The auto shop where you get your car serviced might have an app which allows you to do things such as checking the maintenance history for your car, or scheduling a service appointment, or checking on recalls, and so on.

Best free backup apps for Android in 2021
This is a useful list of apps for backing up photos, videos, SMS messages, documents, call logs, and apps.

Battery Indicator by Fulmine Software (free) - This shows your battery percentage in the notifications bar, so you can always see your battery level in any app (except in full-screen apps unless you pull-down your notifications area). After doing side-by-side comparisons of numerous battery apps, this was the only one which stayed in sync with my phone's built-in battery meter.

Bubble level by BRL technologies (free) - Uses your smartphone's accelerometer to display three bubble levels. Tap the "lock" icon to freeze/unfreeze the display. I used a real bubble level to find a level table, then I placed my phone on the table. I calibrated this app by going to the Settings menu and tapping "Calibrate," then tapping "Tare." The bubble in the app did a pretty good job compared to the real bubble level, and the numeric reading (e.g. 30 degrees) was quite accurate when I tested it with a protractor. For more tools which make use of the sensors in your smartphone, take a look at A-Tools free and Tool Box (Free).

CadreBible - Bible Study App by CadreWorks Pty Ltd (free) - I've tried numerous Bible apps, and this one is my favorite. It's easy and intuitive to use, plus it has tons of features, and I like that the search feature allows boolean searches ("and," "or") as well as Strong's and Hebrew and Greek searches.

Calendar Status by Sagi Lowenhardt (free) - Displays your upcoming calendar events in your phone's notifications area, making it quick and easy to check what's on your calendar for the next two or three days.

Camera Block-Anti spy security by Better Tomorrow Apps (free) - Blocks apps from using your phone's cameras (front and back). Many apps use your camera in a legitimate way, and many apps use the Internet in a legitimate way, but it would be easy for an app to use your camera without your knowledge and to transmit pictures or videos across the Internet without your knowledge. Camera Block prevents the unauthorized use of your cameras by disabling them. A color-coded icon in your phone's status bar indicates whether the cameras are enabled or disabled. To enable/disable the cameras (e.g. when you want to take a picture), pull down your phone's notifications area, then tap the Camera Block entry. When the Camera Block app opens, tap the large icon to enable/disable the cameras. In the free version, you can't disable the cameras between 6pm and 10pm. At the top left corner of the screen, tap the "hamburger button" (the three lines) to open the Settings menu. The Settings menu can display a list of the apps which have permission to use your cameras, and whether or not those apps have Internet permissions (on my phone there are currently 47 apps which have permission to use the cameras).

CamScanner -Phone PDF Creator by IntSig Information Co.,Ltd (free) - Uses your camera to scan and store any type of documents (receipts, notes, invoices, whiteboard discussions, business cards, certificates, etc.). Scanned images can be saved as .PDF files, and they can be annotated if you install the InNote annotation plug-in, and they can be OCR-ed if you install the OCR plug-in. Multiple scanned images can be merged into a single .PDF file. I've scanned a number of business cards into this app so they're always handy.

Clueful Privacy Advisor by Bitdefender (free) - Any app might send your location, phone number, email address, contacts list, passwords, calendar, text messages, photos, web browsing history, phone call history, the unique device ID of your phone, etc., to other people (e.g. aggressive ad networks). The Clueful app analyzes all of your installed apps and lets you know whether they're high risk, medium risk, or low risk in the way they use your personal information. When you install an app from the Google Play apps store, Clueful will add an entry in your phone's notifications area with a risk assessment for that app. Also see Addons Detector (above) and aSpotCat (above).

Compass by Catch.com (free) - A compass app with several themes, which is better than the other compass apps I've tried.

Contacts + by Contacts Plus team (free) - A really nice app which combines a Contacts app, a Dialer app, and a Messaging app. After trying numerous messaging apps and contacts apps, this one is my favorite. What I especially like is that no matter what app I'm in (or if my screen is off), when I receive a text it's displayed in a pop-up window and I can reply to the text in that window.

ConvertPad - Unit Converter by Sunny Moon (free) - After trying numerous unit conversion apps, this one is my favorite. In all of the other unit conversion apps, you must search through a list of units to convert from, then search through a second list of units to convert to, in order to get the conversion you want. One thing I like about this app is you only need to select one unit (such as kilometers), and the conversions for all of the other units (centimeters, feet, inches, miles, etc.) are automatically displayed. This makes ConvertPad quick and convenient compared to the other unit conversion apps. Another thing I like is that in the settings you can hide any units that you'll never use, such as rods and cubits and so on. Again, this makes ConvertPad quick and convenient compared to the other unit conversion apps because you don't have to wade through a bunch of useless unit conversions. You can also create custom unit conversions.

FlightStats by FlightStats (free) - A flight status and airport tracking app, which is better than all the other ones I've tried. On a recent trip to California and back, with a layover each way, this app was very helpful for finding the right gates and learning about any delays. For example, on the first leg of each trip the app told me which gate we were landing at and which gate our connecting flight would depart from, so I knew whether we had plenty of time to catch our connection or if we needed to hustle to the other side of the airport. On the main screen you can choose "Flights," "Airports," or "My Flights." On the "Flights" screen, enter the flight information and tap the "Search" button, then tap the specific destination that you're interested in (because each plane makes several stops). You can see when the plane departs and arrives, and which gates it will be at, and whether or not it's on time, and so on. The flight is automatically saved in the "My Flights" screen, which is handy (long-press a flight in the "My Flights" screen to remove it). The "Airports" screen allows you to see information for any airport, such as its address, its current date and time, its delay index, its current weather, and so on.

Google Goggles by Google Inc. (free) - Performs Google searches based on what it sees in your rear-facing camera, such as QR codes, barcodes, logos, paintings, books, CDs, DVDs, other products, famous landmarks, and so on. It can also translate text, and add new contacts by scanning business cards, and solve Sudoku puzzles. I've tried all of these features except for famous landmarks, and they work quite well. For another barcode scanner, see RedLaser Barcode & QR Scanner (below).

Handyman Calculator by Kalyani (free) - Provides a huge number of calculations and conversions for contractors, handypersons, homeowners, do-it-yourselfers, and so on.

HERE Maps: Offline Navigation by Nokia Apps LLC (free) - There are a number of map apps for Android, and they all have many of the same features. However, this one can be used offline, which is very useful when my cell reception is poor, plus it reduces the mobile data that I'm paying for. This requires downloading a huge file, but I've got plenty of storage space on my phone and I downloaded the file over WiFi at home. You can get turn-by-turn directions (if GPS/Location is turned on), and save your favorite locations into various "collections," and use overlays such as traffic and satellite (only if you're online), and so on.

IMDb Movies & TV by IMDb (free) - This is the IMDb app, which allows you to search for information about movies, TV shows, celebrities, and so on. Also see Movies by Flixster (below).

IntoNow by Yahoo! Inc. (free) - Provides information about the TV show that it hears, such as episode and cast information. The write-up says that it works on live TV or anything which has run on TV in the last five years.

Instructables by Autodesk Inc. (free) - A huge list of do-it-yourself projects in various categories.

Jota+ (Text Editor) by Aquamarine Networks (free) - After trying numerous text editor apps, this one is my favorite. It has more features than the older "Jota Text Editor," so be sure to install "Jota+" in the Google Play apps store. It can open multiple files in tabs (only two files in the free version), and it has a toolbar at the bottom which can be configured, and all of the basic text editor functions are easy to access. It also does syntax highlighting (e.g. in html files). The paid version can integrate with Box and Cubby and Dropbox and Google Drive and SkyDrive if you install the appropriate Jota+ Connector plugin.

Karl's Mortgage Calculator by DrCalculator.com (free) - A nice mortgage or loan calculator, which is better than the other mortgage or loan calculator apps I've tried. Enter the property value (or the amount of the loan) and the down payment (or leave this blank). The principal field will automatically be synchronized with the property value and down payment fields. Enter the interest percentage and the term of the loan in years, and the monthly payment will be calculated (if the checkbox next to Payment is ticked). To calculate the term of a loan based on the principal and interest and monthly payment, tick the checkbox next to Years. Similarly, tick the checkbox next to Principal or Interest to calculate these values based on the other three values. Scroll down to enter other values such as the starting date of the payments, and other expenses, and so on. To calculate the effect of adding extra payments during the life of the loan, tick the "Extra" radio button and enter an extra monthly payment amount plus the starting and ending months when this extra payment will be made. At the top of the screen, the "Input" icon is underlined because you're on the Input screen. Tap the "Table" icon to see some amortization tables (for the Period and Payment tables, use the slider to change the year). The "Graph" and "Chart" icons at the top of the screen will display some graphs and a chart. The "Sum" icon at the top of the screen will display a summary of the loan information. The Options menu allows you to change the compounding frequency and so on (under Settings), plus it allows you to email yourself a report containing the loan information and amortization schedule (including an HTML version of the report which will open up in your web browser and a CSV version of the amortization schedule which will open up in Excel).

Keepass2Android Password Safe by Philipp Crocoll (Croco Apps) (free) - This is an Android version of the KeePass password manager program. If you use KeePass on your Windows machine, you can copy the .KDBX database file to any folder on your Android device. In Keepass2Android, tap "Change Database," then tap "Open file," then tap "System file picker," then navigate to the folder which contains the .KDBX file, then tap the .KDBX file. Now you can login using your KeePass password. One version of this app allows you to access Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, etc., or else you can use the "Keepass2Android Offline" app if you don't need access to the cloud.

Key Ring Reward Cards & Coupon by Mobestream Media (free) - Stores all of your gift cards and rewards cards, etc., so you don't need to carry them all with you. In a store, the cashier can scan the barcode on your phone, or type in the barcode number. Your cards can be backed up online and be transferred to another phone. Key Ring will also display the rewards programs and offers and coupons near your current location. To add a new gift card or rewards card, tap the "plus sign" icon, then scan the card's barcode or type in the barcode number.

Knots Guide by SusaSoftX (free) - Displays pictures and instructions for tying a number of rope or string or fishing knots, plus useful information about each knot. For other knots which are not in this app, see Useful Knots (below).

Llama - Location Profiles by KebabApps (free) - Allows you to automate numerous tasks on your phone, based on your location or other triggers. For example, to test out this app I made an event which turns off WiFi and turns on the mobile data when I leave my house (and another event which does the opposite when I get home). Another event turns my volume controls down a bit when I get to work (and another event restores the volumes when I leave work). Another event turns on airplane mode at 10pm every night (to save battery by disabling all Internet access overnight). Another event turns the media volume to a medium setting when I plug in my headphones (in case I previously left the volume a bit loud), and another event sets the media volume to 0 when I unplug my headphones. Llama uses "phone masts" (cell towers) to determine your location rather than running down your battery by using GPS (although it does tend to use more battery than other apps). This means that it will think you're home even when you're a mile or so from home if it sees the same cell towers at your current location that it sees when you're at home.

There are four tabs (the "llama" button at the bottom left corner of each tab will bring up the Help file for that tab):

  • Areas - This tab shows a list of the areas that you've taught Llama about (the area that you're currently in will be in a green font). Long-press an area to create a reminder (for example, it can display a reminder in your phone's notifications area when it sees that you've arrived at home), or rename the area, or tell Llama to learn the cell towers which identify the area, or delete the area. To teach Llama a new area, you need to physically go to that area (e.g. where you work), then tap the "+" button at the bottom right corner of the "Areas" tab. Type in a name for this area (e.g. "Work") and tap "OK." Tell Llama how long you'll be at this location so it knows how long it can look for cell towers in order to learn this location.
  • Events - This tab shows a list of the events that you've setup (the conditions which are currently valid will be in a green font, and the invalid conditions will be in a red font). If your events have been added to groups then you can expand or collapse the groups in the list. Long-press an event to edit it, or copy it, or run it immediately, or disable it, or delete it, or share it. To add a new event, tap the "+" button at the bottom right corner of the "Events" tab. Tap "Event name and group," then enter a name for this event (e.g. "Quiet at work") and an optional group name (e.g. "Volume"), then tap "OK." By adding several volume-oriented events to the "Volume" group, for example, this allows you to expand or collapse the "Volume" group in the list of events to help keep your events organized. Tap the "Add Condition" button to add a condition (i.e. the trigger for this event). In the list of conditions, tap the "question mark" button next to a condition to see a description of the condition. Tap a condition (e.g. "Enter/In Area"), then tap the appropriate setting (e.g. "Work"), then tap "OK." Tap the "Add Action" button to add an action which will be performed when the condition is triggered (e.g. "Profile," then "Quiet"). If you tapped any conditions that you changed your mind about, tap the "Remove" button and then tap the condition that you don't want. When you're finished, tap your phone's Back button to save the event. At the bottom of the screen, the "magnifying glass" button allows you to filter or search the list of events. The "timer" button shows a list of the events which have been triggered.
  • Profiles - This tab shows a list of the volume profiles that you've setup. Long-press a profile to activate it, or edit it, or copy it, or delete it. To add a new profile, tap the "+" button at the bottom right corner of the "Profiles" tab. Tap "Profile name," then enter a name for this volume profile (e.g. "Loud" or "Normal" or "Quiet"), then select the desired volume settings for this profile. When you're finished, tap your phone's Back button to save the profile.
  • Recent - This tab shows a list of the cell towers which Llama has seen recently.

Mirror by mmapps mobile (free) - Uses your phone's front-facing camera as a mirror. The "i" icon at the top left brings up the "About" window. The "photo gallery" icon brings up a list of saved images. I don't know what the "paintbrush" icon does. After you tap the "settings" icon, tap the "curved arrow" icon to rotate the image 90 degrees clockwise, and tap the numbers to change the screen resolution. The "light bulb" icon puts a bright white border around your image, projecting a little bit of light onto your face. The "x1" icon allows you to increase the magnification to x2 and x4. Slide the scrollbar at the bottom left to adjust the contrast. Tap the "snowflake" icon to freeze/unfreeze the image (while the image is frozen, you can share it or save it to the gallery). Slide the scrollbar at the bottom right to zoom in. After trying several mirror apps, this one is my favorite.

Monect PC Remote by Jiang Lei (free) - There are a number of apps which allow you to control your PC using your smartphone (from as far away as your WiFi connection will reach), but this one seems to have more features than the other apps do. In addition to installing the app on your phone, you also need to install and run PC Remote Receiver on your PC, which will display your PC's IP address. On your smartphone, run the Monect app, then type in your PC's IP address, then tap the "Connect" button. When the app connects to your PC, you'll see a menu of icons on your phone:

  • Touchpad - Enables you to control the PC's mouse cursor by dragging your finger around your phone screen. Tap the screen to do a left-click, or double-tap the screen for a double-click, or use the buttons at the bottom of the screen for left-click, middle-click, and right-click. On the right side of the screen is a scrollbar. The buttons at the top of the screen allow you to access some of the other features below.
  • Typewriter Keys - Provides a full QWERTY keyboard with all of the function keys and special characters.
  • Function Keys - Provides all of the function keys (F1 through F12, plus Print Screen, Insert, Home, End, etc.).
  • Numeric Keypad - Provides a numeric keypad, plus it has a button to launch Excel and a button to launch the Windows Calculator, plus a "Switch" button which does an Alt+Tab.
  • Text Transfer - Allows you to use your Android keyboard for entering text, then tap the "Send" button to display the text on your PC.
  • My Computer - Allows you to browse your PC's files and folders on your phone.
  • Race - Allows you to control racing games by tilting your phone, although I haven't gotten this to work yet.
  • Joystick - Provides a thumb joystick and 13 buttons for joystick-controlled games, although I haven't gotten this to work yet.
  • Shooter Mode - Provides a thumb joystick and various buttons for first-person shooter games, although I haven't gotten this to work yet.
  • PowerPoint - Provides a touchscreen and buttons for controlling a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Browser Mode - Provides a touchscreen and buttons for controlling a web browser.
  • Media Mode - Provides a touchscreen and buttons for controlling a media player (e.g. Windows Media Player).

Movies by Flixster by Flixster Inc. (free) - Displays showtimes for movies at your favorite theaters, and displays movie info such as reviews (from Rotten Tomatoes) and cast info and so on. Also see IMDb Movies & TV (above).

Notification Toggle by j4velin (free) - On some phones, the notifications area displays some handy toggles (e.g. turning WiFi or Bluetooth on/off). If your phone doesn't have this feature, then the Notification Toggle app will give you this functionality. It can provide one or two rows of toggles, plus it allows you to place icons for apps in one or both of those rows.

Push Notifications Fixer by andQlimax (free) - Apps such as instant messaging apps use Google's Push Service in order to receive notifications. On some phones or carriers, the connection timeout value causes the connection to Google's servers to be closed after a short period of inactivity. When this happens, you won't receive your messaging notifications until you turn on your phone. Android sends a "heartbeat" message every 15 minutes if you're on WiFi (or every 28 minutes if you're not on WiFi), but the problem is that this interval is not small enough to avoid the timeout. This app causes the "heartbeat" message to be sent every 5 minutes, so there's no timeout problem. Therefore, your notifications are always received instantly. This fixed my notifications problem with my instant messaging app, and it didn't cause any battery drain problems.

Recipe Calculator by easicorp (free) - After trying several recipe conversion apps, this one is my favorite. Enter the original number of servings that a recipe is designed for (e.g. for 4 people), and the desired number of servings that you need (e.g. for 6 people), and the amount of an ingredient (e.g. 1-1/2 cups). Tap the "Calculated Amount" box to display the new amount of the ingredient that you need to use.

RedLaser Barcode & QR Scanner by eBay Mobile (free) - After trying a number of barcode scanner apps, this one is my favorite. Tap the red "Scan" icon at the bottom of the screen, then aim your camera at a product's barcode label or QR code. The app will display some information about the item, including prices for the item at various websites and in local stores. To create your own QR codes, go to the menu and tap "QR Code Creator." When the QR Codes screen comes up, tap "QR Code Creator" or tap the "plus" icon at the bottom of the screen. There are four types of QR codes you can make:

  • Create a contact QR - This will display a list of your contacts. Tap a contact, and the QR code will be displayed (tap the "mountain" icon at the bottom of the screen to save the QR code to your Gallery). If someone else scans this QR code with their phone then the contact information can be saved in their list of contacts.
  • Create a personal QR - This is the same as "Create a contact QR" (above), except it lets you type in the personal details (name, address, phone number, etc.).
  • Create a text QR - This allows you to type in 458 characters of freeform text, then it creates a QR code containing the text.
  • Create a URL QR - This allows you to enter a URL, then it creates a QR code containing the URL. When someone scans the QR code with their phone, it will automatically bring up the website in their phone's web browser.
To delete a QR code, long-press it and then tap one of the Delete options.

Screen Notifications by Luke Korth (free) - When you receive a notification (e.g. a text message), this app will turn on your screen for a specified period of time unless the proximity sensor is covered (such as when the phone is in your pocket).

Shake Calc - Calculator by Ralf Schroth (free) - After trying numerous calculator apps, this one is my favorite. It has large buttons and a simple user interface, plus it has a second layout with more calculator options such as sine and cosine and so on. I prefer this calculator because it has parentheses and it can display a history of my recent calculations.

Useful Knots by Neptuns Apps (free) - Displays pictures and instructions for tying a number of rope or string knots, plus useful information about each knot. For other knots which are not in this app, see Knots Guide (above).

Waze Social GPS Maps & Traffic by Waze (free) - A community-based map, showing real-time traffic information. People who have Waze running on their device while they're driving are called "Wazers." A Waze icon is displayed on the map to show where each Wazer is and what their speed is and so on. This allows the Waze community to see the real-time traffic speed on the route they want to take, based on Wazers who are on the same route. If there are accidents, traffic jams, police, hazards, closures, etc., on your route then you can update the Waze map by tapping the "map pin" icon at the bottom right corner of the screen, and then tapping the appropriate icon. Tap the "waze" icon at the bottom left corner for menu options.

WhitePages by WhitePages (free) - Allows you to do a "white pages" search for people, or a "yellow pages" search for businesses, or a reverse call lookup, or a reverse address lookup.

YouTube by YouTube (free) - This is the YouTube app. Videos only play while the screen is on and the app is in the foreground. To listen to music on YouTube while the screen is off or while another app is active, see AudioPocket (above).

Modification History

  • November 1, 2021 - Deleted some apps which are no longer available in the apps store (Addons Detector, CM Backup, ES File Explorer File Manager, Helium - App Sync and Backup, News apps, Ringtone Randomizer, Watchdog Task Manager Lite, Widgetsoid, and WordLookup). Added "Best free backup apps for Android in 2021."
  • January 14, 2015 - Added AudioPocket, Battery Indicator, Contacts +, FlightStats, Helium, HERE Maps, KeePass2Android, and Screen Notifications.
  • March 27, 2014 - Added Calendar Status, Movies by Flixster, Push Notifications Fixer, and WordLookup.
  • October 21, 2013 - Added Camera Block, Clueful Privacy Advisor, IMDb, and WhitePages.
  • September 01, 2013 - Added Notification Toggle and Waze.
  • August 08, 2013 - Added Key Ring, Knots Guide, and Useful Knots.
  • April 30, 2013 - Added CamScanner, Handyman Calculator, Instructables, Llama, Monect Portable, and RedLaser.
  • January 17, 2013 - Added Addons Detector, Karl's Mortgage Calculator, Widgetsoid, and YouTube.
  • December 22, 2012 - Added AirDroid, Assistant, Cadre Bible, ES File Explorer, and Ringtone Randomizer.
  • December 05, 2012 - New page.

Dave Root

email: dave.root@live.com
home page:   http://daveroot.neocities.org